Hebron Border Police Beat and Rape Palestinian Youth

by Mark Frey

CPTNET 15 August, 1997

HEBRON, West Bank -- According to local sources, a 17-year-old Palestinian youth was beaten and raped in the Hebron vegetable market by two Israel Defense Force (IDF) Border Police officers on Tuesday evening, 12 August, at 7 p.m.

On Friday, August 15, CPTer Anne Montgomery accompanied a Hebron journalist to a vllage outside of Hebron in order to talk to Walid Kafisha, a witness to the incident.

On Tuesday evening, Abed (not his real name) was detained by a Border Police patrol in front of the Avraham Avinu settlement in the center of Hebron. Soldiers checked Abed's ID and physically searched his clothes, finding nothing. Among the patrol were two officers who then took Abed into a tunnel further inside the old market and barricaded the narrow tunnel with scraps of sheet metal, posting two Border Police at the entrance. One of the officers was approximately 165 cm (5' 5") tall and dark complected; the other was overweight, approximately 2 meters (6' 6") tall with two white stars on his uniform's shoulder, light complected with light blond hair.

Kafisha reported that he heard shouting from Abed for between 45-60 minutes, and that he sought out TIPH (Temporary International Presence - Hebron, international observers) but had difficultly communicating because he spoke no English and these TIPH personnel did not speak Arabic. Eventually, when TIPH observers approached the scene, the soldiers and officers stopped the assault and took Abed to a nearby checkpoint. Kafisha began to strongly argue with the chief officer involved while TIPH observed.

Abed was then released and he and Kafisha went to the DCO (a joint Israeli-Palestinian security force) to file a complaint. After quickly stating he had been beaten by the IDF officers, Abed left ahead of Kafisha. When Kafisha later found Abed, he lay on a street in the market near the CPT apartment and cried, "They raped me! They raped me! I couldn't move! I couldn't move!" Kafisha urged Abed to return to the DCO to file a statement regarding the rape, but Abed refused and returned to his home outside of Hebron.

Later Palestinian Preventive Security questioned Abed, and he described the beating but not the rape. The journalist who interviewed Kafisha this morning also tried to interview Abed, but his family said he had run away, his whereabouts unknown.

A lawyer who knows the family said they are very conservative and would not be supportive of a family member who had been raped because it shames the entire family; no woman would marry a man who had been raped. According to Palestinians CPT Hebron talked to, it is highly unlikely that a male in Palestinian culture would falsely claim to have been raped, since victims of rape are often ostracized by their family and/or society.

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